When a man applied for a job at the railway station, he was asked, "Suppose you saw a train coming from the east at 100 miles per hour. Then, you noticed a train coming from the west at 100 mph. The trains are both on the same track and just a quarter of a mile apart. What would you do?"
The man replied, "I'd run and get my brother."
"Why would you ever do that at such a critical time?" he was asked. The man replied, "Because my brother's never seen a train wreck."
Today, diabetes and its complications make a perfect medical train wreck. According to the World Health Organization, every 40 seconds a new diabetic is diagnosed in North America. Can you imagine the hue and cry if there were a new case of SARS or measles every 40 seconds?
The figures are appalling. Fifty years ago, 90 per cent of diabetes was the result of inheriting bad genes (Type 1 diabetes). Now 90 per cent is due to obesity (Type2)! Five per cent of North Americans are diabetic. One child in five born today will become a diabetic. The dollars required to care for these patients is mind-boggling, eventually decimating our health-care system. So can you decrease the risk of becoming a diabetes statistic?
First, everyone must get scared about gaining weight. Excess weight not only sets the stage for diabetes, it also triggers a series of other health problems. For instance, heart disease is listed as the No. 1 killer. But often it's sheer fat that's killing them.
Next, get scared about packaged foods. Since most of us are no longer down on the farm, packaged foods have now become a way of life. So, develop the habit of never buying packaged food without looking at the label. You will be surprised at the number of calories present per serving. Until everyone starts thinking calories, the battle of the bulge will never be won. Most people need about 1,800 calories a day.
Also, get scared about other calories, the 14 teaspoons of sugar present in a piece of cherry pie, eight teaspoons of sugar in a soft drink. I'm sure readers would conclude I needed a psychiatrist if I poured this amount of sugar into a glass of water. But this is what kids have been drinking for years. And since many morning cereals contain 50 per cent sugar, I tell my grandchildren it's safer to eat the box!
It's naive to expect the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes to suddenly end. That would require either a famine, a major public health assault on obesity, or millions of people getting scared about diabetes. I don't see it happening.
The great tragedy is that too many people look at diabetes simply as a problem with an excessive amount of blood sugar. They fail to realize the primary cause is narrowed atherosclerotic arteries that gradually choke off blood supply to vital organs.
The most appalling example of tragedy is what is happening to aboriginal patients in Manitoba. Because of diabetes and reduced blood supply to the legs, 90 per cent of leg amputations are performed on aboriginals.
But looking at other diabetes patients in North America, diminished blood flow makes them 25 times more prone to blindness and 17 times more likely to be attached to renal dialysis machines due to destroyed kidneys.
Narrowed arteries in diabetes patients also carry less blood to the heart's muscle. This is why 50 per cent of diabetes patients die of coronary attack.
Aging is also responsible for narrowed atherosclerotic arteries. But Dr. Sydney Bush, an English researcher, has shown that diabetes patients and the rest of us can restore normal blood flow by taking high concentrations of vitamin C and lysine. It's recently become available as a powder, which is available in health food stores.
Unfortunately, few people are aware of this product since its proven results have gone unrecognized by doctors.
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